By Gordon Hughes
For those of you who read my column regularly you will find this column very atypical.
We are going through an extremely dangerous time. Probably not since the Cuban Missile Crisis have we, the United States, come so close to a nuclear confrontation. I really don’t think I am over stating the danger of this situation, that literally came out of nowhere and most certainly was unprovoked. This act by Russia was a surprise and stunned the world. Yes, a surprise to all of us and especially our leaders, those responsible for maintaining the rule of law. Those leaders, duly-elected and democratically elected to protect us and maintain the international rule of law, missed the boat. It is their responsibility, world leaders, who are supposed to be aware of the dangers arising on the world stage to protect us. All, it seems were surprised by what Russia has done. These bright folks are the ones who should have seen this coming and were taken by surprise. Putin had written a paper two years ago about his thoughts regarding the Ukraine. Apparently no one read Putin’s paper or if they did no one believed what he was saying or what this could lead to. I guess that could have been said of Hilter’s Mein Kampf. That said, “those that cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it”. So said George Santayana the Spanish philosopher. This is the precipice on which we stand right now.
Almost one hundred years ago, Italy invaded Ethiopia. No pretext, no reason. The League of Nations, predecessor to the United Nations, listened to Haile Selassie the Emperor of Ethiopia’s impassioned pleas for help before that body. There was great praise for his speeches by most of the world. That said no action was taken. The only statements made by any nation was “Italy and Mussolini were bullies.”
That invasion and conquest of Ethiopia in 1935 led to Japan’s invasion of China in 1937 (China invades Taiwan)? And Germany’s invasion of the Rhineland in 1938. (Iran invades Iraq and Kuwait)? This all lead to the outbreak of World War ll. Could this current invasion lead to WWlll? Today we are listening to the pleas of Volodymyr Zelensky much as 100 years ago world leaders listened to Haile Selassie. Perhaps if we had come to Ethiopia’s aid back then rather then let Mussolini and subsequent bullies act out, WWll might just have been avoided. Let’s hope as George Santayana said “we will learn from our history”.